IBFD and Partners Hold the 3rd Asian Tax Authorities Symposium in Jakarta, Indonesia
The 3rd Asian Tax Authorities Symposium (ATAS) was held in Jakarta, Indonesia on 4 and 5 June 2014. This year’s theme was “Broadening the Revenue Base, Narrowing the Tax Gap.” ATAS brings together key personnel from Tax Policy and Tax Administration to discuss international tax issues and developments, and their impact on the Asia-Pacific region.
Bringing together the Tax Policy and Tax Administration departments
ATAS brings together key personnel from Tax Policy and Tax Administration to discuss increasingly relevant international tax issues and developments, and their impact on the Asia-Pacific region. This exchange from both sides of the divide allows for a more comprehensive and relevant discussion of the issues at hand. It also promotes the finding of solutions through the invaluable sharing of country experiences.
ATAS also focuses on giving a voice to developing countries in the Asia-Pacific - to raise issues uniquely relevant to them, whilst allowing them to share and learn from the experiences of the more developed countries in the region.
In particular, ATAS wishes to encourage greater country participation from developing countries in establishing acceptable international tax norms and aims to provide an avenue for these countries to highlight the issues that concern them most.
The 3rd ATAS was attended by high-level tax officials and experts from 21 Asia-Pacific jurisdictions, i.e. Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
The perennial challenge of Broadening the Revenue Base and Narrowing the Tax Gap
The rich 2-day programme addressed issues of the tax gap and the link with the shadow economy, the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan, developments regarding BEPS issues and bringing Tax Policy and Tax Administration together.
The speakers expounded on policy considerations in expanding the tax base (tax mix, quality of existing taxes or introducing new taxes, the risk of using tax incentives where the loss in tax revenue should be weighed against the benefits of foreign direct investment), addressing tax competition, measures to tackle the hidden economy, e.g. through anti-money laundering and anti-tax avoidance measures, and the importance of international/regional cooperation.
The OECD outlined and clarified their Action Plan on BEPS, acknowledged that it may be overwhelming for the lesser developed countries and confirmed that total harmonization was not expected. Given the disparity in the capability of different countries in the region to deal with the BEPS Action Plan, the opportunity to engage with the lesser developed countries was welcomed with the hope that this would enable their participation.
The Symposium concluded with an open and frank discussion on the relationship between tax policy and tax administration, and the need for an effective interaction between the two in order to find a balance between the objectives of national fiscal policy and its actual implementation and related issues.
The 4th ATAS will be held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2016.
IBFD is a not-for-profit independent research institute, established in 1938, with a long-standing history in supporting and contributing to tax research and academic activities. IBFD and its partners took the initiative in funding and organizing this event in order to promote the study of international taxation and address problems faced by Asian tax authorities.
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